Do Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs: Facts and Information

Cardinal Tetra fish are magnificent and popular among aquarium owners. Cardinal tetras live happily in a community tank. But still, they do best when bred in pairs or groups of four to six individuals. With the popularity of Cardinal tetras, many aquarists have a lot of questions regarding this fish, like whether Cardinal tetras lay eggs or not.

Cardinal Tetras are egg layers. After this fish become sexually mature at about four to six months, they can breed for up to three years. Cardinal tetras breed by laying eggs in the water and requires warmer water with a pH between six and eight.

If you are new to fish keeping and breeding, you certainly have many questions. So, let’s take a look at the facts and information about Cardinal Tetras.

What Type Of Fish Are Cardinal Tetras?

Cardinal Tetras are a popular tropical fish that pet owners often keep in the home aquariums. Cardinal Tetras have several common names, including Cardinal Fish, Cardinal Minnows, or Cardinal tetra minnow family Characidae of order Characiformes. They are present in the Amazon River basin and some other South American waterways, mainly in slow-moving waters of major tributaries, backwaters, and flooded forests.

Cardinal Tetras are usually very peaceful fish that will get along with most other fish species. But you must make sure that they have their own space to swim in the tank. They typically grow up to about two inches (five centimeters) in length on average.

Cardinal tetras are very easy to care for and breed. Thus, these fish are a great addition to your aquarium.

Do Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs?

Yes, Cardinal Tetras are egg layers that will typically spawn every two to three days during the year’s warmer months.

Cardinal tetra eggs can hatch after 48 hours if you keep them at a temperature between 77°F (25°C) and 86°F (30°C).  They prefer very soft acidic water in their tank setup but can usually adapt to most water conditions as long as there is a lot of vegetation and driftwood for them to hide amongst.

Once they are familiar with feeding in their tank, you can feed Cardinal tetras dry sinking catfish pellets, micro pellet food, or small live foods like brine shrimp. These fish will become very shy if not provided with plenty of hiding places in their tank set up.

Cardinal Tetras will also school together. Thus, it would help if you always kept them in groups of at least five Cardinal tetra fish so they can feel comfortable when swimming around the tank.

When Do Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs?

Cardinal Tetras lays eggs once a year during the rainy season. They like to swim in groups of 20 or more and prefer planted areas with dense vegetation for their nests. Cardinal Tetras are egg layers that will lay their eggs on plants, roots, or rocks. Females can produce up to 1000 eggs every few days during the rainy season (up to 200 per day).

Cardinal tetras prefer water temperatures between 72-82°F (22-28°C) and a pH level of about six. They lay eggs on the leaves of plants, rocks, or roots in groups where they can easily hide between them for protection from predators like larger fish. Cardinal Tetras prefer to spawn around dawn and dusk when it is time to feed their fry after hatching.

What Happens After Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs?

Cardinal Tetras lays eggs once a week on average. However, these fish can only spawn in water between 79 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, so it may be important to monitor the temperature of your tank if you have Cardinal tetras.

When Cardinal Tetras lay their eggs, they almost always lay them on plants. Cardinal Tetras lays eggs in the morning, and spawning is usually complete by mid-day.

Cardinal Tetras are perfect parents. They will care for their eggs by fanning them with water or picking up unhatched eggs in their mouths to spit out later after absorption of yolk. This process usually takes about three days.

Cardinal Tetras fry hatch after one week. After that, you should move them immediately to a different tank so that the Cardinal Tetras can care for their next batch of eggs.

Will Cardinal Tetras Eat Their Eggs?

Cardinal Tetra will not eat its own eggs, but it may wiggle them around to make sure they are getting enough oxygen. These fish lay their eggs on plants with little oxygen to protect their babies from other Cardinal Tetras.

Cardinal Tetra will lay its eggs on plants, and then when they hatch, it’s best to move them into a breeder net. Cardinal tetra fish fry is tiny, but after about one month, you can put them back into your main tank if you want or keep them separate until they get older.

How To Help Cardinal Tetras To Lay Eggs?

Cardinal Tetras are a popular species of freshwater fish that have been in the aquarium hobby for many years. Cardinal tetra care is easy if you know what to do. Both beginners and experienced aquarists can successfully keep and breed these tiny fishes.

However, if your Cardinal tetras are pregnant, it needs special care. So, to produce healthy and happy fry from the eggs, you can follow the following tips.

Place Plants To Help Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs

Cardinal tetras usually spawn in the early morning. Therefore, you should immediately isolate females Cardinal Tetra from males as soon as you notice breeding.

Hence, you can include some natural plants into your Cardinal Tetra tank to provide them with their favorite spawning sites. You may use Java Moss or Indian Almond Leaves for this purpose.

Use Soft, Acidic Water To Help Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs

The pH level of the water should be around five and a half. This is because Cardinal Tetra eggs are susceptible to any foreign substances in their environment, which makes soft acidic water ideal for encouraging spawning behavior.

Also, you can increase the temperature slightly but never above 26 degrees Celsius because Cardinal Tetras are tropical fish that need slightly warm water to spawn.

Feed Cardinal Tetra Fry Well To Help Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs

Cardinal tetra fry will normally start feeding on their own within a couple of days, but you should help them out by using infusoria or similar until they have grown bigger. Cardinal Tetra fry grows quickly. So, you must provide them with a varied diet of good quality foods to ensure healthy growth.

Use A Separate Cardinal Tetras Breeding Tank To Help Cardinal Tetras Lay Eggs

Cardinal tetra eggs require particular conditions for them to hatch properly, which means you should set up a breeding tank to house Cardinal Tetras in.

As mentioned above, this will involve setting up the Cardinal tetra aquarium with soft, acidic water and plenty of plants for spawning sites. You can also add some flat stones or flower pots into your Cardinal Tetras breeding tank to provide an alternative nesting site should they not spawn on the provided plants. Cardinal Tetra eggs are adhesive, so you must remove all adults from your aquarium once spawning has occurred.

How Long Will It Takes For The Eggs To Hatch?

It takes approximately three days for Cardinal Tetras to hatch. Therefore, they will remain attached to any plants or other surfaces in their new tank until this happens. During this time, make sure there is plenty of infusoria in the tank (infusoria grows from yeast and lettuce) for them to feed on.

Cardinal Tetras will eat newly hatched brine shrimp if you offer them. However, they may not recognize it as food at first, so you should also offer infusoria alongside this.

A few days after hatching, Cardinal Tetras begin swimming around the tank and resemble their parents. However, Cardinal Tetras are generally not sexually mature until they reach the age of 12 months old.


Summing up, Cardinal tetras are easy to breed. You can even breed them in a community tank. Cardinal tetra breeding is very easy to do with the right conditions. But it’s important to make sure you don’t add them together until one of more cardinal tetras is ready to spawn. These fish live for up to five years when cared for properly, much longer than the average fish. Cardinal Tetras are a great choice for beginners or experienced aquatic hobbyists due to their small size, peaceful nature, and ease of care.

Hopefully, this post has answered the Cardinal tetra breeding question for you. If not, feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll respond as soon as possible!

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